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Warner Norcross Awards 2014 Minority Scholarships

For the 14th consecutive year, the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has awarded academic scholarships to assist minority students from Michigan complete their legal studies.

A competitive scholarship administered and awarded by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the Warner Norcross scholarship program provides monetary assistance to students to help cover the educational costs associated with a law degree or paralegal studies. The 2014 recipients are:

• Ka’nea K. Brooks of Ypsilanti, Law School Scholarship
• Veronica A. Foster of Southfield, Paralegal/Legal Assistant Scholarship
Since it began awarding scholarships, Warner Norcross has awarded more than $155,000 to support programs that encourage minority students to pursue a career in the law. To date, the firm has award scholarships to more than 70 students.

The 2014 winners were chosen by a selection committee at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation based on essays that outlined personal goals and challenges that have drawn them into the field of law. Warner Norcross established the scholarship fund at the Grand Rapids Community Foundation in 1998; the first scholarship was awarded in 2001.

Brooks, who received the law firm’s $5,000 Law School Scholarship, earned her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University. Even as a first-generation college graduate, Brooks knew she would become an attorney, noting “As far back as I can remember, I was confident that I would become a lawyer.”

Brooks plans to attend Emory Law School, where she has received a merit scholarship to finance her legal education. She based her decision to attend Emory on a number of factors.

“The students and faculty are welcoming and engaging,” she explained. “The law school has several centers and clinics that will allow me to explore my interest in human rights, educational policy and juveniles.”

Foster received the law firm’s $2,000 Paralegal/Legal Assistant Scholarship. She plans to complete her degree at Oakland Community College and hopes to use her education to supplement her experiences as a legal secretary and law librarian. Her career goals include work in civil litigation and appeals.

“I hope to become an invaluable asset to my future employer,” Foster said. “The paralegal certificate from OCC will provide the foundational skills necessary for longevity and stability in the profession. The existence of the Warner Norcross & Judd Paralegal Assistant scholarship is encouraging because it … promotes minority participation in the profession. It is truly a catalyst to opportunity.”

In order to be considered for a scholarship, applicants must:

• Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
• Be a Michigan resident accepted to or currently attending an accredited law school within the United States or a non-Michigan resident attending a Michigan law school (for the Law School Scholarship)
• Be a Michigan resident enrolled in an accredited college or university in Michigan (for the Paralegal Scholarship)
• Demonstrate financial need
• Submit a statement of goals and aspirations related to their legal studies
• Be a member of an ethnic or racial minority

In addition to its longstanding tuition scholarship program, Warner Norcross also annually awards scholarships to minority students in their junior or senior year of college to pay the costs of a study course for the Law School Admission Test. Information about these scholarship programs is available on the firm’s website at

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WNJ Essay Contest Winner Published as Guest Column in the Grand Rapids Press

Daijon Miller, the sixth grader at the Riverside Middle School in Grand Rapids who is the Grand Prize winner in Warner’s eighth annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest, was honored by the Grand Rapids Press today by publishing his essay as today’s Guest Column.

Guest Column

Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest Winners Recognized by the Grand Rapids School Board

MLK, Jr., Essay Contest winners and Honor Mention Award winners


MLK, Jr., Essay Contest Winners Andruw Sandy, Jamarius McBride, and Kevin O'Neil (left to right) with Rodney Martin


Last evening the Grand Rapids School Board recognized the winners of the 2011-12 Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay Contest.  The essay contest, in its 7th year, is conducted by Warner Norcross & Judd for sixth graders in the Grand Rapids Public Schools.  Grand Prize winner Jamarius McBride, of Riverside Middle School, read his essay, “Are You Willing?,” to the members of the board. 

Warner Norcross & Judd Diversity Partner Rodney Martin presented Jamarius with a gift card from Schuler Books and Music and a savings bond.  Martin also presented a gift card and savings bond to first runner up Kevin O’Neil, of the Center for Economicology, and second runner up Andruw Sandy, of Riverside Middle School.  In addition, Martin recognized 20 students whose essays received Honorable Mention and presented them with a gift card.

Warner Norcross & Judd designed the contest to encourage students to think about how Dr. King’s legacy of peace and justice applies to the world in which they live.  Essays were judged by Warner Norcross attorneys and staff on originality, clarity, organization and knowledge of Dr. King and his work in the civil rights movement.

• WNJ Issues 2008 Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report

2008 Diversity and Inclusion Annual ReportWarner Norcross has issued its third annual report regarding the firm’s initiatives to become a more diverse and inclusive organization.  The 2008 Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report includes a letter from Managing Partner Doug Wagner, in which he reviews the firm’s progress.  It also includes articles regarding some of the programs and initiatives at the firm this past year.  To see a copy of the report, click on the image to the left.

Copies of the firm’s annual reports for 2006 and 2007 may be found on the firm’s website by clicking here.

• WNJ Lawyers to Appear on Film Series Panel

Two Warner Norcross & Judd attorneys will appear on a panel following the Chiaroscuro International Film Series‘s showing of In This World on Sunday, February 8, at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids. 

Kathy HanenburgKathy Hanenburg and Homayune GhaussiHomayune Ghaussi will discuss issues raised by the film, which tells the story of two Afghan boys who make a perilous journey from a refugee camp in Pakistan, through Iran, Turkey, Italy and France, to seek refuge in the United Kingdom.  Hanenburg chairs the firm’s Immigration Practice Group.  Ghaussi is an associate in the firm’s Southfield office.  He was born in Afghanistan.  His family left after the Russian invasion and eventually settled in metropolitan Detroit.

The movie begins at 2:30 p.m.  The Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts is located at 41 Sheldon Boulevard SE Grand Rapids, MI 49503.  (MAP)

You can see the trailer for the movie by clicking here

• Speakers Announced for the 14th GRCC Diversity Lecture Series

Warner Norcross & Judd is proud to be a continuing sponsor of the Diversity Lectures Series hosted by the Bob and Aleicia Diversity Learning Center at Grand Rapids Community College.  Each year, the Diversity Learning Center brings outstanding speakers to advance the discussion of diversity and inclusion in our community.  This coming school year is no exception.  The Diversity Learning Center has lined up an extraordinary group of lecturers for the fourteenth annual lecture series during the coming school year.  Here, from the series brochure which you can download here, is a list of the speakers:

Ray Suarez – October 8, 2008
Journalist, Author, Correspondent
“Media, Politics and Washington: An Evening with Ray Suarez”Ray Suarez

With more than twenty-five years of varied experience in journalism, Ray Suarez, one of the most respected news anchors in Washington today, continues to make major contributions to the public understanding of the stories shaping America today. Ray Suarez is the Senior Correspondent for PBS’s News Hour with Jim Lehrer and was previously host of NPR’s nationwide call-in news show Talk of the Nation. Suarez thinks that the media is the best tool by which people can voice their opinions about those who govern. On top of his work on the public airwaves; Suarez has taken to chronicling the American condition on the page. His much talked-about new book, The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America, takes an in-depth look at the intersection of politics and religion in this country, while also examining the increasing polarization between Red and Blue States.

Amy Dickinson – November 12,, 2008
Author, Syndicated Columnist, NPR Commentator
“Aging in the 21st Century”

Amy DickinsonAmy Dickinson’s voice and narratives are heard and seen in numerous mediums. As a columnist her Ask Amy column for the Chicago Tribune is syndicated in over 200 newspapers nationwide. She is a regular panelist on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, carried on 400 NPR stations, and has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Her work focuses on family life and parenting, often drawing from her experiences as a single parent and member of a large extended family. Dickinson is a distant relative of Emily Dickinson; her family has lived in her hometown of Finger Lakes, New York continuously since the revolutionary war. “Life in my hometown was like growing up in Lake Wobegon, only with worse weather and high unemployment.” She continues, “My great grandfather was warden of Sing Sing prison and my great uncle ran off to Europe and joined the circus when he was 40.”

B. D. Wong – December 3, 2008
Tony Award-Winning Actor, Author, Activist
“Racial Self-image and the Model Minority Myth”
B. D. Wong

While perhaps best known to many as forensic psychiatrist Dr. George Huang on NBC’s Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, B.D. Wong is also an author, Broadway actor, and accomplished speaker. Wong feels that living day to day in the trenches of his challenging career as an actor, (a vocation in an industry fraught with rejection and racism) has forced him to not only empower himself and his own self esteem, but it has caused him to be even more facile and articulate about the issues of racial self-image, race-based rejection, Asian-American parental pressure, and the “model minority myth.” In June 2003, Wong released his first book, Following Foo: The Electronic Adventures of the Chestnut Man, a memoir about the personal drama that he and his partner endured on their path to parenthood “involving a surrogate, an egg from his partner’s sister and identical twins born 13 weeks prematurely and needing months of intensive care.”

Prince Cedza Dlamini – February 4, 2009
Humanitarian, Social Entrepreneur
“Global Forgiveness and Connectedness”

Prince Cedza DlaminiCedza Dlamini is an impassioned humanitarian, social entrepreneur and visionary.  His vision is to create a unified global order by establishing global networks of young leaders working collectively to address world problems, such as HIV/AIDS, poverty, hunger, and illiteracy.  He travels the world to help young people recognize their connectedness to each other and their power to change their surroundings.  As the grandson of Nelson Mandela, he carries on the activism and investment in community leading him to expose young people to the leadership and professional skills they need in their communities.  He founded the Ubuntu Institute for Young Social Entrepreneurs, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the United Nation’s eight point strategy to eradicate poverty, hunger and disease in Africa.

Shannon Brownlee – March 11, 2009
Author, Economist, Health Care Analyst
“Debunking The Myth of Poor Care for American Veterans”

Shannon BrownleeShannon Brownlee is a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and a former writer for U.S. News and Word Report.  The New York Times named her best-seller Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer as the #1 Economics Book of the Year. Shannon Brownlee examines the unprecedented influence that “fee-for-service” care is having on America’s public health-and sets myth from reality in examining the successes and failures in our ever-changing health systems. As debate surrounds the availability and quality of care for American soldiers and veterans, Shannon shares the story of the Veterans Health Administration-which has gone from a picture of all that was wrong with American health care, to a symbol of all that can be right. Bucking the traditional systems, the VHA is working with providers and veterans to create collaboration towards a more efficient and effective model.

All lectures begin at 7:00 p.m. at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain NE, in Grand Rapids.